Categories
Computing

Anatomy Of A Password

Let’s take a vote. What’s the most popular password on the planet? Is it k9H3!R+? No, no, that’s not it. How about pancetta019? Nope: not it. The world’s most popular password, according to the U.K.’s Daily Globe and Mail is: 123456.

123456. Not much of a password, is it? Does it happen to be your password? Or is ‘password’ your password? Tsk, tsk.

It is a doubtless pain in the butt to remember a secure password and writing it down makes it all the less secure. There are some services that will remember a password for you, but the old saying goes something like this: “How can two people be sure that their secret is kept? If one of them is dead . . .”

So, it’s best to have a method of creating a secure password for yourself and to use it. First, some simple rules:

Avoid using passwords that can be found in the dictionary. Hackers can use dictionary lists as the basis for a hack.

The password should be not less than six characters.

Don’t use your name, birth date or any other personally-indentifiable bit of information in the password.

Always include a mix of alphanumeric (a through z), numeric (0 through 9) and special (#,$,!,@ and so forth) characters.

What would a password that follows these rules look like? For instance (and please don’t use this one):

Brahms91#

Easy to remember, hard to guess. Favourite composer, weight when you were 13 and your favourite special character. Easy to forget? Maybe specifically, but if you make up a formula to follow, your can have a different password for each login (recommended) and not actually have to remember the exact password, exactly.

Let’s say you like to make cupcakes and you don’t usually make them from scratch:

Crocker12!

Hmm. You use Betty Crocker cupcake mix, you make a dozen at a time and cupcakes are exciting! Same formula:

Baltimore50#

Hmm, again. Baltimore is the home of the King of Cupcakes, your favourite food channel cupcake-reality show, 50 is the number of pounds you hope you don’t gain from eating cupcakes and # is the pound sign. See? Easy.

So, there’s really no reason to not use a more secure form of password. I’ll be checking on you, -91ADclaudius^.^.

Categories
Living

Dear Car Dealer . . .

Dear Car Dealer;

After pouring my first cup of the magic elixir otherwise know as coffee this morning and sitting down to check the latest crop of spam, I was surprised to see another e-mail from you, nearly begging me to help you help me. Wasn’t that a Cheap Trick song? No? Whatever.

Categories
Computing

Clearing The Cache

If you’re getting unexpected results on a web page you’re laying out, like not seeing changes you’ve just made, it could be that your browser is simply showing you what it still has in its memory, or “cache”, which is French for “hide”,

Categories
Web

mySQL and You

If you’re involved in creating or maintaining a website that uses a Content Management System, or CMS, as its backbone, it’s likely that the CMS uses a database. mySQL is an open-source database that is very robust and is the most widely used database on the web. It’s robust enough to be forgotten and that’s not good.

Categories
Creativity

Take A Better Snapshot

With holidays, vacations and other events seemingly always around the corner, snapshots are an traditional and inevitable way to hang on to memories that would otherwise fade into bleary obscurity. Too many snapshots seem to look terrible – dark, blurry and downright unprofessional. But that’s okay, because you’re not a professional, right? That doesn’t mean you can’t use some pro techniques to clean up your next crop of fun pics.

Categories
Creativity

Five Ways To Stay Creative

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day madhouse rush to get to work, do the job, pay the bills, take care of the kids and to at least attempt to accomplish the myriad things on the eternal to-do list we all have. For creatives, this daily merry-go-round of responsibility tends to set creativity as a priority close to, or at, to the bottom of the list. That’s not a good thing, as Martha might agree, so here are five tips to keep the gift of creativity alive.

Categories
Business Practices

Communicating Hard Truths

“The first quality for a commander-in-chief is a cool head to receive a correct impression of things. He should not allow himself to be confused by either good or bad news.” – Napolean Bonaparte

“One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards.” – Oscar Wilde

One of the most important skills needed to effectively run any size of organisation, but especially a small- to mid-sized company, is the ability to communicate effectively. It’s not enough to be able to pen a pithy memo or to simply lay down the law.

Categories
Living

Five Ways To Avoid Murdering Your Houseplants

Okay, so maybe the use of “murdering” and “houseplants” together in the title for this article will instantly skew your opinion that I’m some kind of crystal-gazing plant whisperer. Sorry about that. What I am writing about is how to keep your leafy friends from turning brown and crinkly with a minimum amount of fuss, so, here goes:

Categories
Business Practices

For The Record

No matter how above-board you feel your organization is, there will come a time when some government agency will be interested in taking a cold, hard look at what you’ve been doing. That’s their job and they do it well. Your job is to support what you’ve summarised to those agencies with solid, organised documentation. Should you keep every, single receipt, then, for every lunch and box of pens?

Categories
Business Practices

Friends With Benefits

C’mon now – get your mind out of the gutter. What I’m talking about in this article is why networking is not only socially rewarding, but it raises the personal brand of the networker. After all, would you rather buy insurance from the friend of your friend or from someone you’d never laid eyes on before? For most people, the answer is obvious: a personal referral is preferred.

It’s easy enough to create a Facebook page and Twitter feed that promotes your business activities.